Demerec Laboratory

Centerbrook designed a complete renovation of the mid-century Demerec Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Once the future of the historic research institution, and home to four Nobel Laureates, the building returned to prominence through modernization as the Center for Therapeutic Research.


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Location Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Size 25,000 Sq. Ft.
Features renovation
Program laboratories
Year Completed 2019
Photo Credit Centerbrook
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“The research of four Nobel Prize Laureates has been performed in this building, and with this renovation, it will continue the tradition of advancing outstanding cutting-edge biological research.” CSHL President and CEO Dr. Bruce Stillman

This project renovated the original building, restoring its form and cast-in-place exterior, demolished two of its three additions, and constructed a new three-story addition. The 25,000-square-foot facility embraces the 1950s design and houses four wet labs, one chemistry lab, a tissue culture lab, a glassware kitchen, cold rooms, freezer rooms, conference rooms, as well as principal investigator and post-doc offices.

The historic structure’s 11-foot floor-to-floor heights presented a significant challenge to installing modern laboratory HVAC systems, requiring innovative mechanical solutions. The high efficiency design employs geothermal heating and cooling and other advanced sustainable strategies.

The building is named in honor of Milislav Demerec, a renowned geneticist who established Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s prominence in the fledgling field of molecular biology. Under his leadership, CSHL built its first building dedicated to research in 1953, later named Demerec Laboratory. The original 16,000-square-foot facility consisted of two reinforced concrete structures connected by a modern glass circulation tower and stair.

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Centerbrook designed additions in the 1980s that added laboratory, office, and administrative space that obscured the original mid-century modern structure, deemed inconsistent with the campus’s whaling village aesthetic. But because it has housed some of the CSHL’s most influential researchers, the building is beloved. It is through this project that Demerec Laboratory underwent a full-circle transformation.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, led by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, CSHL President and CEO Dr. Bruce Stillman said, "I would like to thank Centerbrook Architects, long associated with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and particularly Todd Andrews, for artfully paying attention to the historic nature of the building, and creating a space for very modern research."

“There is an incredible research history embodied in Demerec Laboratory, and it is very exciting to honor the building’s past and to create cutting edge laboratories that will be at the forefront of research studies once again.” Todd Andrews, AIA, Principal in Charge
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